Vegan food on the rise in China


This 5 June 2020 video says about itself:

Not Impossible: China’s Vegan Meat Culture Goes Back 1,000 Years

Vegan meat is all the rage these days. Brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible all have their version of a fake beef patty. But did you know plant-based meat has been part of Chinese cuisine for over a thousand years?

We went to Lily’s Vegan Pantry, which has been selling traditional Chinese mock meat for 25 years, to learn more about veganism in Chinese cuisine. We also talked to the founder of a Chinese company that specializes in faux pork products to understand how the Asian market differs from the West.

From Reuters news agency, 15 September 2020:

Chinese firms bet on plant-based meat as COVID-19 fuels healthy eating trend

BEIJING: A small but growing coterie of Chinese companies are betting on a bright future for plant-based meat products as consumers take their health more seriously in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though still a niche business compared to China’s giant meat supply chain, vegetarian alternatives to meat are gaining ground following health scares like COVID-19 and African swine fever, analysts and industry insiders said.

US-based Beyond Meat said last week it had signed a deal to open a production facility near Shanghai and earlier this year launched a partnership with Starbucks for its plant-based meat products to be sold by the cafe giant in China.

Beijing-based start-up Zhenmeat, whose products include plant-based meatballs, beef patty, steak, pork loin, crayfish and dumplings, is one of many small Chinese companies entering the market. Its “meatballs” are now available on a trial basis at a Beijing store of Chinese hotpot chain Hope Tree.

“Now after COVID-19 consumers are more concerned about health and restaurant brands are responding to this,” Zhenmeat founder and CEO Vince Lu told Reuters in an interview, adding that sales were “up considerably” since June.

Many curious customers at the Beijing Hope Tree restaurant said the meatballs – made from a base of pea and soy protein – tasted like tofu.

“Actually you can tell that it isn’t meat but the feel of it in your mouth is very similar to beef. And I guess that plant-based meat is a little healthier than beef,” said Audrey Jiang, 30.

China Market Research Group Director Ben Cavender said the key to the future of the plant-based meat market was the taste.

“When we interview consumers the vast majority say they’re open to trying these products once,” he said.

“But the big question is how do they like it? Do they see how they can fit it into their diet on daily basis, whether that’s cooking at home or at restaurants? But if they do like it they’ll keep buying.”

Zhenmeat’s Lu said there was a lot of competition in the market but the real competitor was the meat industry itself.

“The most important thing is that our true competitors are not those global giants who have already achieved great success such as Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods,” he said.

“Our true competitor is the whole livestock sector. It’s the animal protein industry.”

2 thoughts on “Vegan food on the rise in China

  1. I’m finding, Dear Kitty, that most, if not all cafes and restaurants here in Australia cater for the vegan market. Where once there may have been none or only one vegan/vegetarian option available, now there are quite a few choices appearing on menus. Such a boon for people like me!

    Like

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